Friday, 29 April 2011


Hunter Gatherer aims to encourage multi-sensory awareness of one's experience in the landscape. Part of this process involves smell.

In writing scripts and recording audio about smell, I wanted to find a list of 'smelly' words. It was actually quite hard to find words that related to smell-ing (sensation) rather than object or specific source of smell, and even harder to find some pleasant ones!!Smell seems to be overly associated with the unpleasant in the english language.

This is what I eventually came up with, thanks to various thesaurus searches:
     smelly, stinking, reeking, foul
     pongy, whiffy, malodorous  
     putrid, fetid
     fragrant, fresh
     aromatic, scented, sweet-smelling, sweet-scented
     odorous, redolent, pungent

Audio Buttons

Process for producing audio buttons:

Record narrative with ZoomH4 mic. Import, edit and then play. Connect the TalkingProducts programmer to laptop (headphone socket). Dismantle audio button and insert its PCB into the programmer. Press record whilst playing back from laptop (red button lights up as shown!). Reassemble audio button with button, logo and  cover.

10 seconds is a very short time!

9 different audio buttons are ready to go into the caches..... They will be posted online as well, but only for people who've already found that cache (and key) to listen to -  no cheating!


Whilst most of the country prepare for today's celebrations, I'm busy preparing a new beginning of a different kind....

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Technical update

The last week has been very exciting as I've met with Sean a couple of times and we've been working on the final 'tweaks' to the Gatherer app ready for submission to apple any moment now. Gatherer integrates twitter and email to send colour grids and text responses, whilst simultaneously posting to the online Gatherer Gallery.

Having been very immersed in the design of the app as the core part of the Hunter Gatherer geoartcache project, it was wonderful to lift my head up and look out above it all yesterday thinking about the 'strategic overview' - how I want to promote the app on the app store. Given that some people may come across Gatherer app through other sources, or by chance, without knowledge of the geoartcache or plans to use it in that way, I have tried to capture the essence of the ideas (and research) behind it - a playful tool for paying attention, noticing what you notice, that can be adapted to many different situations in reflective use.
My aim for the project was to develop a custom-built app for Hunter Gatherer that could also be used in other areas of my research and practice. Of course all that had gone by the wayside during the intense focused period of pulling HG together. So it was very nice to sit up and think about how else it might be used; to write with that in mind. I have plans simmering away already, and another potential musical collaboration or two on the horizon for sister-songs of other magical creatures emerging over the summer. Ssshh!! No more on that for now....

Yesterday was the first serious user testing of the finished app - which I video recorded for reference later when it will be hard to remember how people first responded to the app.

So far so good - watching how people navigate around the interface (as experienced iphone users or completely new to smart phones) and where they look whilst making the grid - what they reference or draw inspiration from - are equally informative.

The app needs to be simple to use so that doesn't get in the way of the direct experience of the place and making of the response. Equally it needs enough information for people to find out what to do and ensure we get the responses sent to the website/email address so that the Magical Creature can hear/see them too!

We've also been talking about the structure for the Gatherer3 website, how that will work and what media I need to make before it goes live. How the cache keys will function (unique 5 digit codes found in each cache that change when the Magical Creature is in residence nearby!), etc. We registered the url a couple of weeks ago, and it will be hosted on the Cuttlefish servers (rather than with my website host) so that we can utilise other Cuttlefish services easily.

I've found a free text-to-email service, so I'll be able to offer the text-in-response facility that I had hoped for. Text-to-email is preferable than text-to-phone as it means I can receive the emails from anywhere in the world without extra cost, and they'll fit into a similar process with the other data coming in from the app.

I generated all the QR codes were a couple of weeks ago via a free online service. Each relates to a specific cache key and will provide the content page for that 'piece of the puzzle'. QR codes could be used for sending texts, emails, embedding gps coordinates.. all sorts of interaction. Plenty to explore in a future project perhaps... For Hunter Gatherer they will serve as a link to the cache key web page.

France-Leigh at Chrysalis Arts has been working on the project branding and guidelines to go in the cache boxes. The stickers may not be ready in time for my first caches, so laminates and super glue could come in handy in the interim!

Remaining hardware required... find some cheap plastic pencil sharpeners and the right size lunch boxes for a few hungry creatures ...(!)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Dales at Easter

Spent a couple of busy, beautiful days filming, sound recording, photographing, geotagging, geocaching and generally getting immersed in the landscape in order to construct more of the HG story, compose introductory texts and videos, and confirm the locations for the caches....
Stunning scenery, sparkly spring lambs and superb sunshine made it an inspiring and  refreshing stay.

Day one:
Start: Leicester, making artwork for app 'splash' screen to send to Sean before I leave.
First stop: Skipton to collect sound recordings from Bobbie Millar of the Quarry Arts, Ruskin Rocks and Leeds University inter-disciplinary research projects.
Second stop: Gargrave for updates with Chrysalis Arts.
Third stop: a night a Malham YHA and a chance meeting with artist Petra, exploring overlapping interests of making artwork in the environment, walking, mobile technology and reaching a state of 'meditative' focus through activity.

Day two:
Equipment set-up, text-writing, map/route planning for day.
First stop Ingleton: to see the source of the lithophone rocks (and sounds).
Second stop: Upper Wharfedale - many secretive areas that you may get to explore if you take part in the geoartcahe project!
Third (eventual) stop: Kettlewell YHA

Day three:
Dawn recordings, equipment, text and map updates
First stop: Kettlewell area on foot
Seond stop: more locations in Wharfedale area...  still secretive!
Third (eventual) stop: Loughborough for app updates
Fourth (final) stop: Leicester to start editing editing editing!
Looking towards Ingleton

Lunch stop

Can you ever get the artist out of the work?

Stereo audio: hydrophone (underwater) and ambient (handheld) mics 

"What are you filming?".....

Time for a quick cache find!

Travelling light


Screengrab from groundwork's full iphone app - great way to see where you are from the air/topographical/route maps. Showing Ingleton Quarry, my location and direction of nearest geocache (NOT HG!).

Ingleton Quarry

Hair, grass, wind

Hydrophone recording

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Testing latest version of Gatherer app

Another stage in development, questions included, twitter integrated, as are email and posting to website.
Here's a grid I made at Malham , 18:16 on Thursday evening:

I made this colour grid at,-2.151469 using

"Light on leaves, the shape of the hill, the warmth of the land"
"Colours, patterns, rocks and shadows"
"The view around me"

And here is this same grid (text and data)transformed into the first test animation using the Ingleton ringing rocks and hydrophone recordings as referred to above (post of 23rd April).
- well, when I can get blogger to upload properly!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

2 Magical Caches

I revisited the magnetic nano cache at the Museum of Archaeology on Saturday, before a quick, wonderful, whizz through 5 centuries of the most inspiring and communicative artworks. The ancient Greeks certainly knew a thing or five about bringing magical creatures into existence... Imagine finding a cache of such delicate goldwork from several millennia past!

And yesterday I set off for a walk in one of my favourite woods, on the Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset periphery, following a path i'd never been on before in search of the Four Forts Part 2 Cache. The fragrance of bluebells was divinely gentle and uplifting, and absolutely magical light streaming through the new beech leaves and vibrant strong green grass of spring. The cache leads to a Motte and Bailey that was curiously familiar: